Literary Techniques In An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge British Literature Essay

Ambrose Bierce is said to be one of the greatest freelance writers of his time, which is shown through his short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. " The story is one of a man, Peyton Farquhar, who is from the south and wishes to help the Confederacy out, so much so that he is willing to put his life at stake to kill a Union blockade. By using viewpoint, symbolism, and irony in Bierce's, "An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge, " the reader is able to understand the key character, Peyton Farquhar, and his mentality as he is dying.

The bridge is another center for symbolism and irony in the story. The reader is informed that Farquhar can be an "original secessionist and ardently devoted to the Southern cause" (Bierce 73). Within the story Farquhar is tricked by a Union scout and is also attracted to the bridge when a Union blockade is stationed upon. A bridge is usually used to symbolize the bringing together of two parts and uniting them as you which is similar to what Abraham Lincoln was seeking to do in the very beginning of the Civil Conflict. The irony here's that this bridge didn't symbolize the combining of two parts instead it just confirmed how segregated and against the other person the North and South really are at this time period. Peyton Farquhar's name itself is symbolic as said by George and Judy Cheatham, "such a set of names [Peyton Farquhar], of course, well suits a "well to do planter""(Cheatham 45) but in the storyplot Farquhar runs beyond just being truly a well to do planter and instead becomes a martyr for the Confederate cause. In the story the writer is not so much focused on Farquhar himself but instead the mentality of Farquhar and the things that 're going on around him. Within the story there is much more symbolism and irony, like the noose in the story. For Farquhar the noose symbolizes death, but for the soldiers the noose might symbolize a small victory that is won by eliminating a Confederate rebel. A person dislike up for what they imagine because they will be choked out by the stronger society and the federal government, and the noose is a symbol of that. The reader is informed that Peyton Farquhar is a "well-to-do planter from Alabama" (Bierce 73) and a "student of suspending" (Bierce 73). Also from Conlogue the audience has learned that "Farquhar grows up hemp" (Conlogue 37). Along with the irony of this is the fact he has spent his life living around hemp and dealing with hemp and then he dies from a noose made of hemp. At the end of the storyplot whenever Farquhar is swinging from the bridge it is similar to way that rope is really made, by rotating the hemp around and round until a rope is created. The irony is that Farquhar actually spent most years of his life making and growing hemp, and interestingly enough he may have even been hung by his own rope that he made. Although all seemingly unrelated the symbolism and irony of the storyline, "An Event at Owl Creek Bridge" does in fact contribute to the mentality of Peyton Farquhar as he's dying.

One must remember that if it weren't for different factors of view made by the author then the account wouldn't have performed the same result that it did and the reader wouldn't have obtained as filled with an insight into the mentality of Peyton Farquhar as he is dying. The symbolism all ties jointly and allows the storyline to be realized on a variety of levels by readers. One of the most interesting details in the storyline is the fact through the different things of views and flashbacks the author could write a story that made sense and wasn't perplexing to the audience. The symbolism and irony throughout the story is somewhat concealed but once viewed a bit more deeply everything becomes easily grasped. In conclusion, throughout the story, "An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge", the point of view changes many different times and with this and the irony and symbolism found throughout the story the reader can get a clearer picture of the mentality of the main figure, Peyton Farquhar and the way the mind responds to death it knows is coming.

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